I know I talk about changing recipes a lot. My recent CSA box almost begs for any recipe to be nudged at least a bit in this way or that to accomodate what’s in the fridge. But I know no chef whose recipes lend themselves more to Free Recipe Interpretation than Jamie Oliver. I don’t know if it’s the long list of ingredients that make me want to cut corners and make do with this or substitute that, or his infectious casualness in the kitchen that makes you truly beleive that anyone can cook, but I don’t think I’ve ever been capable of following one of his recipes through to the end. And it’s not that they’re boring or uninspired by any means. If anything I feel inspired by the ingredient lists that Jamie implores me to keep in my pantry at all times, because while I couldn’t possibly manage it, he makes me think of ingredients, and combinations, I wouldn’t otherwise think of.
I have the 20 minute meals app on my phone, which i honestly use more for food porn inspiration than anything else. But for months I’ve kept returning to one recipe: Orecchiette with broccoli, chile and pecorino. I rarely eat pasta, especially alone, but the broccoli and pecorino kept me coming back (no really, just to stare at the photo for awhile and ponder). And so tonight I made my own version of Jamie’s Orecchiette, except mine didn’t have orecchiette….or even pecorino when it came down to it, but I did use the anchovies he calls for, substituted brown rice and a combination of sharp cheddar and parmesan cheeses i already had, added a zucchini from my CSA box, heirloom tomatoes and some left over chicken.
As I grated the cheese over the whole thing like risotto I realized I don’t think I even read the entire recipe. but the outcome was delicious, fresh, easy and healthy. and I think that would count as a message well received from the Oliver camp.
I didn’t even stop to photograph it, and it pains me to post without a photo but this is definitely a recipe I’ll be coming back to. I hope it inspires you to get in the kitchen and try something new, especially if it’s of your own creation
Almost Jamie’s Broccoli Pecorino Stir Fry
1 bunch of broccoli, tops and stems chopped
1 clove garlic
4 anchovy fillets
Handful cherry tomatoes
plenty of salt, pepper and cumin to taste
pinch of red chili flakes
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 grated cheese (peccorino, parmesan, sharp cheddar or combination)
Quickly steam your broccoli, just for about 90 seconds, in a few tablespoons of salted water. Then in a large skillet with a splash of olive oil saute your zucchini and slightly steamed broccoli in a pan over medium heat, add the anchovy fillets (chopped if you don’t like big mouthfuls of anchovies in your food) and garlic. Season liberally with salt, pepper, cumin and a bit of chili flakes. Once the zucchini has browned nicely and the broccoli is forkable but not mushy add the cherry tomatoes and toss for a couple minutes. Add the rice and combine all the ingredients. sprinkle the cheese over the top and continue to stir. when everything’s warm and blended you’re ready to serve.